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What’s next for Seattle arena after city awarded NHL team

Groundbreaking for a new arena at Seattle Center will begin Wednesday. NHL Seattle President Tod Leiweke expects the arena to be ready and open by March or April 2021.

The NHL awarded Seattle an expansion franchise Tuesday, but before a team comes to the Emerald City, construction on a new arena at Seattle Center will needs to be completed.

The timeline has been a question for months. Arena investors initially hoped for a 2020 start for a hockey team, but the NHL said concerns about arena construction prompted them to push a start date back.

“The lack of certainty led us to believe that making the start of the 2020-21 season would be speculative at best and unlikely at worst,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

Here’s where the timeline stands as of now:

December 5, 2018 – Groundbreaking begins on the Seattle Center arena construction.

2018-21 – NHL Seattle plans to develop a 180,000-square foot headquarters and training facility at Northgate, although the group has not announced when it will break ground on the project.

March or April 2021 – NHL Seattle President Tod Leiweke expects the arena to be ready and open in time for the Seattle Storm schedule.

WATCH: Renderings of new arena at Seattle Center

2021-22 – An NHL team begins play in the newly-constructed Seattle Center arena.

Other items that have yet to be determined include a team name, colors, and when season ticket holders will see their seats.